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2010-11 NBA Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Philadelphia 76ers (Last Year: 27-55)

2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Spencer Hawes/Marreese Speights/Tony Battie

PF: Elton Brand/Darius Songaila/Craig Brackins

SF: Thaddeus Young/Andres Nocioni/Jason Kapono

SG: Andre Iguodala/Evan Turner/Jodie Meeks

PG: Jrue Holiday/Louis Williams

Head Coach: Doug Collins (1st season)

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $69.4 million

Off-Season Grade: D+
Philly made the safe pick in taking Evan Turner with the second-overall selection in the NBA Draft, but may regret doing so in a couple years if Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins become dominant big men in the league. Other than that, the 76ers did very little to make major strides.

They turned Samuel Dalembert's expiring contract into a versatile forward in Andres Nocioni and a big man in need of a new beginning in Spencer Hawes. It is an upgrade in overall talent but leaves a question mark at the center spot which is why they signed veteran big man Tony Battie. Swapping Willie Green and Jason Smith for Craig Brackins and Darius Songaila seems like a waste of paperwork to me.

2010-2011 Outlook:
The 76ers are coming off their worst season in 13 years. And to think, two years ago they were the sexy pick to win the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia made a splash head coach hire by luring Doug Collins out from behind the color commentary booth and back to the bench. Collins is the team's fourth coach in the past three seasons and is expected to help the Sixers win now.

Adding Evan Turner through the NBA Draft throws another playmaker into the backcourt mix along with Andre Iguodala and second-year point guard Jrue Holiday who came on strong as his rookie season progressed. The concern is how does Turner fit on this team? Philly was a poor three-point shooting team last season and Turner is more of a slasher/creator than someone who plays well off the ball.

The post play is a glaring weakness heading into the season. Elton Brand is a shadow of who he was with the Clippers prior to his season-ending injury in 2007-08. Hawes struggled to find the consistency on a nightly basis in Sacramento, but maybe a new destination will provide a re-birth of sorts for his career. Marreese Speights is a solid bench player, but Songaila and Battie are just one-year rentals who can hopefully provide some toughness inside.

Thaddeus Young, Nocioni and Brackins can each play either forward spot. This group brings versatility to the floor and will allow Collins to mix and match his lineups.

There seems to be a pretty set top six teams in the Eastern Conference heading into the season. If Turner can adapt to his role, Holiday continues to develop as a point guard, and Brand can provide some sort of inside presence, Philly should be one of the teams in the mix for the final playoff spot in the East.

Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2011:
With Brand and Iguodala eating up more than half of the Sixers' cap space, Philly will have little flexibility next summer. The more relevant concerns will revolve around Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes who will both be restricted free agents. The 76ers' best chance of improving their roster will be through the draft or trying to deal Jason Kapono and/or Darius Songaila who are in the final years of the contracts.

2010-2011 NBA Power Ranking: 19th

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to:

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